Time and the Leijiverse Part VI (Underdetermination)

Back in February, my latest installment of “Time and the Leijiverse” ended in total failure: I couldn’t come up with a single, simple theory with the necessary explanatory firepower.  So I renewed my quest to find Miraizer Ban, Matsumoto’s manga meditation on the issue of Time.  I found it, I read it, and I summarized the whole thing for the curious (summaries here).

Emeraldas, daughter of a Miraizer

Kei Yuhki, Miraizer Ban's descendant

Now the big question is: how does Miraizer Ban square in with my speculations??  The short answer is that the manga does agree well with Parts I, II and III of my “Time and the Leijiverse”.  Part IV is contradicted by the story (see below under #3) and as for Part V, well, that blew up in my face as I wrote it, so there’s no question it’s unworkable.

The long answer can actually be summed up in a short sentence: the evidence from Miraizer Ban is such that any theory on Time in the Leijiverse will be undetermined.  Essentially, Matsumoto’s universe admits of such variation that any grand theory becomes a shot in the dark [maybe our own universe is like this?!]

There are three enormous factors for this fundamental underdetermination.  Let me talk about them in turn.

1) Time Travel

I’m quite sure I never even touched on Time Travel in my series.  One reason was that none of the Matsumoto shows I’ve seen deal with it in a central way.  Besides, it would complicate things.  One should establish the nature of Time before one can intelligently approach the topic of travel on it, right?

Of course, Matsumoto is a storyteller, and he can introduce Time Travel whenever he wants to.  While Time Travel isn’t central here either, Miraizer Ban is peppered with time travelers.  In chapter 9 Kei Yuki makes a lovely case for appreciating the Earth as a Time Machine, simply because by looking at the stars from our vantage point we can see different stages of the past (the farther away the star the farther into the past we can see!).  At the end of Volume 2, a time traveler from the future makes the point that in a deeper sense all of the Times in the universe coexist at the same Time.  This is a neat way of explaining Time Travel, but I don’t know how on Earth you would represent that geometrically?!

Any of you have a clue??

Any of you have a clue??

But I think the threat that Time Travel brings is more basic than that: it taints the evidence.  Any confluence or similarity of events might actually be caused, not by the fabric of Time, but by some sort of travel therein.  For example, the fact that there are several similar yet different Harlocks in the Leijiverse might be due to this.  Or the multiple deaths of Tochiroh.

2) Dimensional Travel

It is hinted throughout the manga that dimensional travel is possible.  The one clear case of “sliding” relates to Zenpest: one of Miraizer Ban’s descendants who is bent on assassinating Miraizer.  This is not fleshed out at all, but it’s there.

3) Sphere Size

As I explained in Part III of my series, Matsumoto posits the existence of Time Spheres, conglomerations of an infinity of Rings of Time all with the same size and the same center.  I often thought of the possibility of changing the sizes of the Spheres, but I never wrote about it because it would make everything even more complicated than it already was.

Well, let me show you a picture I did based on the image shown in the next to the last page of Miraizer Ban (because of the software I’m using to read the manga, I can’t actually paste the original image, sorry!):

Nightmare of the Spheres

Nightmare of the Spheres

Not only are these Time Spheres different sizes, but they’re not even concentric!!  The suggestion in the manga is that one can pass from one to the other, but the mechanics are of course left unexplained.  The key point for the story is that apparently when one crosses from one Sphere to another, all notion of continuity is broken, so that even a Miraizer cannot predict what will happen.  If this sounds complicated, it is.  One result is that Part IV of my series, where I proposed that the center of each Sphere acted as some sort of Room of Gaf, is wrong.  Evidently personality can persist through Rings/Spheres of differing centers.

It also means that potentially chronology issues like fitting in the Harlockverse and the Maetelverse might be solved through different sized Spheres, or maybe not.  Who knows?


Leiji Matsumoto could have easily made a precise, knowable universe.  Instead, the variety of elements and phenomena in the Leijiverse doom any unified theories to failure.  Maybe that was his intention all along…

Might as well go with the flow.

Might as well go with the flow.

~ by Haloed Bane on July 14, 2009.

4 Responses to “Time and the Leijiverse Part VI (Underdetermination)”

  1. Intention, intention… not my favorite topic by a long shot but the subject matter compels me to indulge.

    My bet is, he started a whole bunch of projects and by the time he considered a singular universe, it was too late. He tried to travel back in time to fix the continuity (as it were), but in the end he probably figured it was too much trouble.

    That said, I suggest you persist with this project.

    The Gundam timeline is said to be a fan created work, which Bandai eventually made canon. Imagine that.

    The Five Star Stories timeline appears in every edition/book/volume of the manga. This too is entirely fan-created and subsequently appropriated.

    Fans like me can sometimes take these chronologies for granted, but thinking about it at length I realize how useful and wonderful these things are. Persist in your Quixoticsm.

    Oh btw, I’ll be able to watch The Galaxy Express 999 movie 1. I promise to write about it after.

  2. Leiji works kinda differently. He does start a whole bunch of stuff, but I don’t think he ever really scrambles to tie it all together (his publishers do that). Leiji just keeps going. I mean, Miraizer Ban is about 650 pages long, quite self-contained, and he still manages to include a million concepts. He’s just having fun.

    That stuff about fan input is awesome. Anyway, I guess I’ll keep adding entries to “Time and the Leijiverse” everytime I see one of his shows engaging the subject.

    GE 999 movie # 1 is very good, but IMO the second one is the best!! (i mean Adieu GE 999) Of course, you have to see the first one first…

  3. Hmm … interesting. The whole sphere thing is a bit of a mind blow and the idea of dimensional travel is an idea (that I love myself) but throws another spanner into the works.

    I like the way you have done these sections (but might I add that the first image is Kei Yuki from Herlock OVA. Not Esmeraldas.)

  4. @Fallen

    Ah, you’re right. It’s not even the right hair. I actually found it labeled Emeraldas and put it in. It actually works better now because Kei Yuki (or her ancestor) is a main character in Miraizer.

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